COVID-19 UPDATES : Japan and New Zealand record single highest day jump in cases, Spanish government extends state of emergency, US$2 trillion stimulus bill passed by US Senate


26th March 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 471,417 as of 12pm today. A total of 21,295 deaths were reported, of which 13,581 were in Europe. The pandemic has also impacted the watchmaking, car manufacturing and fashion industries.

Watchmakers in Europe suspended factory production amidst COVID-19 outbreak. Rolex has closed their watchmaking factory in Geneva, Bill and Kristen, Switzerland from 17th March to 27th March. Patek Philippe, Hublot (part of LVMH) also suspended operations. Audemars Piguet also stopped production until the end of March.

Chanel, Gucci and Hermes have also announced that they have ceased production and closed factories in France, Italy and Switzerland. Chanel also cancelled the early spring holiday fashion show in Italy in May, and major brands have also suspended fashion shows.

Between 12th to 19th March, carmakers such as Groupe PSA is a French multinational manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles sold under the Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall brands, Benz, Ford, Renault and Volkswagen etc have also suspended production.

The World Trade Organization’s chief has said that projections show that the economic downturn and job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic would be worse than the 2008 recession.

All Mormon temples worldwide are closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Italy reported 683 more deaths in the last 24 hours, total death toll is now at a staggering 7,503. The Spanish government voted to extend the current state of emergency until 12th April. French health authorities have reported 231 new deaths from coronavirus, taking the total to 1,331. 

28 people have died from COVID-19 in England bringing the total number of deaths in the UK to 465. The total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland has risen 1,564 from 1,329 a day earlier.

This year’s Wimbledon Championships could be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELT) has said.

The Finnish government has issued a three-week blockade of the Uusimaa region around Helsinki, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Finland, to prevent people from travelling and spreading the virus to other parts of the country.

U.S. and Canada

The United States has now reported at least 68,421 cases of the novel coronavirus and over 1,032 deaths. More than 200 deaths from Covid-19 were reported Wednesday in the United States, a new high for fatalities recorded in a single day. The US Senate has passed a US$2 trillion stimulus bill in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Boeing, one of the badly hit companies in US could receive billions from stimulus package.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Group of Seven (G7) leaders to call the coronavirus the “Wuhan Virus”. Pompeo and several US officials have used the term recently in an apparent attempt to emphasise that the virus originated in China. 

Coronavirus patients are starting to overwhelm US hospitals.

The Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that a Marine who works inside the building has tested positive for Covid-19.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned today that the pandemic may not be over quickly, and that “we may see a second or third explosion of (coronavirus) as we do in the flu season.”

At New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, a makeshift morgue including tents and refrigerated trucks is being set up in preparation for what may be a surge in the need for autopsies.

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 25: People speak near a makeshift morgue outside of Bellevue Hospital on March 25, 2020 in New York City, New York. Across the country schools, businesses and places of work have either been shut down or are restricting hours of operation as health officials try to slow the spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

70% of the hotel rooms in the United States were vacant last week.

The police in Colorado issued ‘Stay at Home’ order effective through 11th April. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper has signed an order freezing the movements of all US troops overseas for 60 days due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to three defense officials.

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner said he believed “the NBA is going to try to come back as early as we can without spectators, just on TV and streaming, and just give people something to celebrate.” 

US stocks closed higher on Friday, but the rally lost steam as Senate Republicans and Democrats appeared to take issue over portions of the $2 trillion stimulus package.

Ontario unleashes record spending for COVID-19 pandemic with $17 billion in emergency measures. The city of Toronto is closing all playgrounds and park amenities to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

China and Hong Kong

China’s attempts to dissociate itself from the origins of the coronavirus outbreak got an apparent boost thanks to an interview given by an Italian doctor to American media. The article in question, published by NPR on March 19, examined the impact of the current pandemic on Italy’s health care system. What caught the attention of people in China, however, was the final line in the report, where an Italian medical expert called Giuseppe Remuzzi said, citing doctors: “They remember having seen very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even November… This means that the virus was circulating, at least in [the northern region of] Lombardy and before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China.”

14 more preliminary COVID-19 cases detected in Hong Kong today including another waitress from INSOMNIA bar in LKF and man who partied at LKF. Total confirmed cases stand at 411 as of 4pm yesterday.

Elsewhere in the world

Authorities in both Japan and New Zealand saw their highest daily jumps in cases Wednesday, with Japan identifying 98 patients and New Zealand 73. Japan’s foreign ministry issued a travel alert for the entire world.

The United Arab Emirates will restrict the movement of traffic and people from 8 pm (16 GMT) on Thursday to 6 am on Sunday as it disinfects public transport and public facilities.

Qatar has announced it will temporarily close all in-person money exchange and transfer services from March 26th.

Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus increased by 15 to 59  as the number of confirmed cases rose by 561 to 2,433.

Bolivia announced nationwide lockdown and state of emergency and closed all borders.

The Singapore economy is expected to shrink by between 1.0% and 4.0% in 2020, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement.